Tuesday, 24 September 2013

La Femme extra

The video that I included in my report from last week was a little old.

Here's their brand spanking new one - and this is EXACTLY what I was on about.

Remember kids. Guns and knives are neither big nor clever, but they are cool.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

La Femme at Sebright Arms - 18 September 2013

La Femme

The first unwelcome surprise of the evening comes with the revelation that the headliners are not due onstage until nine thirty and that there are no support acts other than a DJ.

We troop off to a nearby hotel to watch the football and my second and final unwelcome surprise comes with the extremely disgruntling result of the Chelsea v Basel match.

After this discouraging start however, it's sheer delight all the way.

On returning to the tiny confines of the Sebright basement the atmosphere is one of expectant excitement. It's hot down here and the air hangs heavy with theatrical mist.

La Femme burst on stage looking like 1940's resistance fighters. They are clad in leather jackets, scarves and berets. Such is the energy that the band generate that most of this clobber is discarded by the end of the first song.

There's a wonderful cinematic quality to La Femme. Their songs inhabit a 60's noir alternate world where spies meet in darkened rooms, mysterious beauties hold cigarettes holders and trench coats are de rigour. The band take this as a starting point to produce a set of giddy high tempo electro pop that is as exciting and harem scarem as a James Bond car chase.

Singer Clemence is a delightful, elegant chanteuse who dances non-stop behind a small keyboard. To her left, band leader Marlon is down to his vest, his torso and neck writhing with tattoos. The rest of the band are slightly lost in the heat and the haze, but can be seen pummelling keyboards in frenzy.

There is a huge mosh pit in front of the stage, with everyone dancing wildly to tracks lack 'Anti Taxi' and 'Sur La Plage'. Arms are held aloft, heads bop furiously. When they are in full flow you could imagine that La Femme are the kind of band that Quentin Tarantino would have play at his wedding - even with their hair plastered across their faces and sweat pouring from every pore this band are COOL.

I have a big stupid grin on my face throughout and I'm not the only one. The whirling synths and pounding rhythms are irresistible.

The band slightly muff their encore by confusing the exhausted crowd into thinking that they are not coming back onstage. But when they re-emerge, the stragglers that remain in the room throw ourselves around like dervishes for one last time.

At the end of the evening, when I emerge into the night outside the pub I find that the band have beaten me outside and are hanging limp and steaming in the doorway.

La Femme really are the most fun that you can have with your clothes on - even when it’s so hot that you have to rip them off.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Skinny Girl Diet and The Greasy Slicks - The Macbeth 4 September 2013

Skinny Girl Diet - Watch out world.

The properties along Hoxton Street are being gentrified. The area is a collision of council estate and bo-ho gastro pub stylishness.

The Macbeth sits defiantly somewhere between the two extremes, a relic of the past facing an uncertain future.

The first band on tonight are The Greasy Slicks. In an era where populist blues rock is seemingly exclusively the province of power duos such as Drenge or the Black Keys, this group seem positively overstaffed as a three piece unit. However, the extra player adds a depth and authenticity to their sound that leaves the others in the dust. The Slicks are much less like a cartoon and a lot closer to the 70's rock gods that they take their inspiration from.

We're firmly in Led Zeppelin, George Thorogood blues rock heaven. Protracted guitar workouts, powerful and intricate drumming and crunching riffs. I'm really impressed with them and I'm not normally a fan of this type of music. If they lose me a little during the occasional guitar noodling passages then they are not doing anything that I wouldn't have expected.  Damn good fun.

My relationship with Skinny Girl Diet has changed. They have gone from being a band that I'm pleased to see on a supporting bill to being the reason that I'm here at all tonight.

I'm increasingly coming to believe that SGD are the complete package. They are effortlessly stylish and cool (a fact picked up by others) and their stripped down, fuzzed out simplicity hits my sweet spot too.

Amelia, Delilah and Ursula gel together in a way that many other acts would envy. The three together are somehow infinitely more than the sum of their parts. Any of them individually would be the highlight of any other combo. They occasionally use the Power Puff Girl graphic in their publicity material. It fits…

SCREAM! Bassist Amelia looks like butter wouldn't melt, but steps forward to wail like a demon.

SMILE! Drummer Ursula is pretty much the happiest person ever seen on a stage. Always laughing, she's not even fazed by a major drum kit malfunction which brings the set to an unexpected halt after only a couple of numbers.

TEXT! Guitarist and de facto band leader Delilah responds to the brief hiatus not by engaging with the crowd or playing on but by becoming engrossed in her mobile phone. It is a moment that really sums up for me why I love this band - they are simultaneously fearsomely driven and urgently serious but then the façade slips and they are three young kids just having fun.

The drum kit repaired, the girls power onwards. Songs like ‘Eyes That Paralyse’ and ‘Dimethyltryptamine’  are really taking shape now and the power and energy of this band is not going to be long confined to venues such as the Macbeth. They've got a prestigious date coming up supporting Primal Scream at the Roundhouse and it will be very interesting to see how they handle the step up. I suspect Gillespie and co won't know what hit them.

Skinny Girl Diet. So much fun it’s not healthy.